In 2000, when Vince Carter (then on the Toronto Raptors) gave a show-stopping performance to win the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest and everybody joined Carter when he said “it was over”, we didn’t really think that statement would last for over a decade, but it did. Carter set the standard that nobody really seem to equal throughout the years of the popular contest.
These days, we get second tier players that people don’t know about and even though they try their hardest to entertain us by giving us something we haven’t seen before, but our interest gets lost as they attempt a certain dunk four…five…maybe six times and it gets to the point where I don’t even want to waste my time with the contest and just change the channel. The contest is watered down and maybe close to being extinct.
This year “The Association” has changed the format of the contest that make it interesting again. The participants were announced last Thursday and instead of an individual competing against each other, they will be split into two teams: East (Terrence Ross, Paul George and John Wall) and West (Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Ben McLemore). They will be working in teams, with team and individual awards being given out at the end of the night.
FIRST ROUND – will be a so-called “freestyle” competition, where the contestants on each team will have 90 seconds to stack up as many unique dunks as they can. These are the kind of dunks that the NBA players put together during a pregame shootaround.. The judges select a winning team, and that team chooses whether to go first or second in the next round.
SECOND ROUND – this is considered the “battle round“. The three dunkers on each team will be paired off for a series of head-to-head battles, with the judges selecting a winner from each. When a dunker loses a battle, they are out of the competition, and the remaining contestants continue to go head-to-head until one of the teams wins three battles. That team will be the Slam Dunk Champions for the night.
This will be entertaining because the action will be constantly moving with no interruptions, instead of waiting for a contestant to try many attempts (and failures) on a dunk that can’t be humanly possible and wasn’t all that in the first place.
You will still have an individual winner – the Dunker of the Night award – which will be decided by fan votes, but the new format will be a breath of fresh air to the mundane failed dunks and years of props that made the contest less amusing. I can honestly say that this year’s dunk contest will be something I have been looking forward to in a long time.
Keep your fingers crossed.
Speaking of dunks, I have come to the conclusion that we will NEVER see Lebron James perform in an NBA dunk contest and that is definitely a shame; all we will be left with is what he do in pregame warm-ups and what he does every now-and-then after practice like in this video that was caught after a practice session in Phoenix, AZ. You can tell he’s a pro at dunking because he knows where to put the ball so it can bounce off of the wall perfect for the dunk. I believe all he has to do is put a film reel together, turn it in the the NBA to show at the Sprite Slam Dunk contest and he would surely win on the spot. I’m just saying.
Shout out to Sports360AZ for the video.